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Fans flock to Woodbridge to catch Harper in action

Wednesday - 6/26/2013, 3:50am  ET

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A young fan holds up a sign saying she has no doubt Bryce Harper will return to the Nats. The outfielder made his first rehabilitation assignment Tuesday night for the Single-A team Potomac Nationals. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)
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WOODBRIDGE, Va. - Nationals star left fielder Bryce Harper, who was placed on the disabled list with a knee injury June 2, gave minor league baseball fans a treat Tuesday night as he started a rehab assignment with the Potomac Nationals.

A sellout crowd at Pfitzner Stadium screamed and applauded as Harper took to the field wearing No. 32.

"I want to see Bryce Harper play ... because he's just a really good player," said 9-year-old Lucciano Battitori who was hoping to get Harper's autograph.

"When we heard he was going to rehab here for the next few games, we pretty much went to the computer and bought seats for tonight's game. So that's what drove us to make the purchase," said Mike Hampton, who brought his son Garrett to the game.

Vice President and General Manager of the Potomac Nationals Josh Olerud said the excitement over Harper reminds him of when Stephen Strasburg came to play with the P-Nats.

"Once they announced it, it's been pretty crazy here. Fans are loving the fact that they can come into Woodbridge here and see him. Worst seat in the house - you're going to be about 40 feet from the field," said Olerud.

There are other perks for visitors to the stadium nicknamed "The Pfitz."

"We pride ourselves on family, affordable entertainment. We really beat that term into the ground. It's where for $8 to $12 to $15 - our price range - you can come and not only see good baseball, but you're going to be in a very intimate setting with great promotions," said Olerud.

For instance, on Mondays you can get $1 general admission tickets, and $1 hot dogs.

"When school gets out, that's one of our biggest walk-up nights. We literally go through thousands of hot dogs on Monday nights. Families come out here to enjoy dinner and watch a little baseball," Olerud said.

Harper played three innings Tuesday night before calling it a night. He went 1-for 1 with a double, a walk, and a run scored.

The Potomac Nationals went on to beat the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 7-5.

It's not clear how long Harper's rehab stay with the team will be, but the Potomac Nationals' website says tickets are available to see Harper and the rest of the team play Wednesday night.

Nationals Manager Davey Johnson, speaking before Washington's game against Arizona, said Harper likely won't rejoin the Nationals this weekend when they travel to New York.

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The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow @WTOPSports and @WTOP on Twitter.

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